Out of the Humidor
From the Print Edition:
Alec Baldwin, May/June 2004
(continued from page 1)
As a Cuban American and a subscriber to your fine magazine, I read your "Editors, Note" on lifting the travel ban to Cuba with great interest. I couldn't disagree with you more on this issue.
First, there is absolutely no proof that simply lifting the ban will magically transform Cuba into a free and democratic bastion. The only way this can occur is by having Cubans on the island decide for themselves if they wish it. Your point that this so-called "failed policy" by the U.S. has been used as a pretext for Cuba's internal problems lies squarely on Castro's own intransigence for not allowing Cuban citizens even the most basic of human rights. As a testament to this are the many brave souls who've been victimized for simply opposing his regime. Not to mention the thousands of exiles forced to flee throughout the world. Therefore, what is the urgency in lifting the travel ban on our part? Castro must make the concessions himself or, conversely, the Cuban people must take the initiative and seek their own destiny which, ultimately, may be the case.
For our part, we must continue to vigorously support the voices of freedom throughout the island as we did previously in Eastern Europe and South Africa. To simply lift the travel ban now does not ensure the "benefits" the Cuban people deserve. It will only prolong the status quo. What the Cuban people truly deserve is an immediate end to 45 years of dictatorship. This is the true "anachronism."
Editor's note: We will always respectfully disagree on how to bring democracy to Cuba. As you point out, it's been 45 years, and your approach hasn't worked. Isn't it time to try something else?